Brunswick senior Kha’lil Eason spent the fourth quarter running through, around and away from Avon Old Farms’ defense Saturday night.
By the time the thrilling quarter ended, the Bruins amassed 28 points, turning a 14-point deficit into a stirring, seven-point victory.
Eason scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns and reached the end zone four times overall, including a touchdown with nine seconds left to play, giving Brunswick a crucial 35-28 late-season comeback win over host Avon Old Farms.
With their third straight win, Brunswick School improved its record to 6-2 and put itself in prime position to earn a NEPSAC Championship Bowl game on Nov. 20.
“It was a wild finish,” Brunswick coach Mike Hannigan said. “It was amazing, it was truly was a great team effort. We had good plays and bad plays and they supported each other after both of them.”
Staring at a 21-7 deficit against the Winged Beavers as the fourth quarter began, the Bruins’ playmakers came up big. Junior wide receiver Jason Agudelo snared a 23-yard pass from senior quarterback Danny Lauter for a touchdown to cut Avon’s lead to 21-14 early in the final quarter.
Brunswick recovered a fumble, then Lauter connected with Eason on back-to-back bubble screens, the second of which resulted in a touchdown, to even the score at 21-21.
“The fourth quarter our team just sort of refocused on executing and making sure we got a body and body up front,” Hannigan said. “We did a decent job of keeping the quarterback upright and took what they gave us.”
Eason was a tough matchup for Avon Old Farms throughout the night. He also had a second-quarter touchdown for the Bruins.
“He (Eason) has great stop, start ability when he has the ball in his hands,” Hannigan said. “He is super fast and super shifty. He’s done a great job all year when he gets the ball.”
With the score knotted at 21-21 and Avon with the ball, Bruins junior lineman Jesse Schutzman blocked a punt to give the Bruins excellent field position. They capitalized on the field position by running the ball down the field with Eason and Hunter Clark consistently churning out yards. Eason proceeded to make his way into the end zone on a 5-yard run, putting Brunswick on top, 28-21.
Avon Old Farms tied the score on a diving 50-yard touchdown reception. The Winged Beavers were flagged for a celebration penalty on the play. Choosing to assess the penalty on the kickoff, Brunswick was able to gain significant yards of field position to mount their last scoring drive of the evening – drive culminated by Eason’s game-winning touchdown with just nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Lauter dropped back to pass threw down field to his left and Eason came up with the reception at the 15-yard line. He cut toward the middle of the field, then sprinted toward the right corner of the end zone, completing a 41-yard pass play with just nine seconds showing at the clock, making it 35-28.
“We were thinking that we wanted to play for the win and we thought we would find a seam and opening and get down into field goal range,” Hannigan said of the team’s final possession. “We wanted to give ourselves the option of a catch-and-run.”
Down 7-0, Brunswick evened the score in the second quarter on a 12-yard run by Eason. Junior Will Erdmann converted the first of his five PATs to knot the score at 7-7.
“Avon is a fantastic team, they have playmakers all over the field,” Hannigan said. “They have a great operation over there and this was a great win for our team. I’m very proud of them. It was a really happy bus ride home.”
Brunswick hosts Trinity-Pawling School on its Senior Night Friday at 6 p.m., in a game that was originally slated to take place on Saturday. A win would likely secure a NEPSAC Championship for the Bruins.
“I think we are definitely in consideration for a bowl game, as long as we take care of business on Friday,” Hannigan said. “We have to treat Friday like it’s a playoff game, just like we’ve done the past two games. It will be Senior Night under the lights, so we have to play with a lot of heart and passion.”